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Banksy to unveil Tropicana show - and Mercury readers will see it first

PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 August 2015 | UPDATED: 18:27 20 August 2015

Dismaland - Banksy's new Tropicana show.

Dismaland - Banksy's new Tropicana show.

Archant

WORLD-RENOWNED urban artist Banksy will today (Thursday) unveil his biggest ever exhibition at Weston-super-Mare’s Tropicana – and ONLY Mercury readers will be invited to the show’s launch.

Tropicana building  with Banksy Installations. Tropicana building with Banksy Installations.

National and international media have been speculating all week about whether the anonymous artist was eyeing the former seafront pool for a new show.

Banksy’s representatives have continually refused to either confirm or deny whether there was any truth to the rumours – but now the Mercury can not only confirm that Banksy IS coming to Weston, we can also reveal that tickets to his opening day will be available only to Mercury readers.

The ‘locals only’ day, scheduled for tomorrow (Friday) is an idea which stemmed directly from Banksy, who told the Mercury he hand-picked the Tropicana venue himself during a visit to the town.

He also revealed his pride at being able to revive a building he remembers fondly from his own childhood.

One of the featured artworks by Josh Keyes. One of the featured artworks by Josh Keyes.

Banksy said: “I loved the Tropicana as a kid, so getting to throw these doors open again is a real honour.

“I hope everyone from Weston will take the opportunity to once more stand in a puddle of murky water eating cold chips to the sound of crying children.”

The new show, named Dismaland in a swipe at Disneyland, is built around a twisted ‘bemusement park’ theme, and follows months of top-secret planning and installation work.

The exhibition will include 10 never-before-seen pieces from Banksy himself, all along thought-provoking themes and displaying his trademark controversial edge.

This piece, by Maskull Laserre, will feature too. This piece, by Maskull Laserre, will feature too.

Altogether, the exhibition includes pieces from more than 50 artists from 17 different countries – including work from the likes of Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer and Jimmy Cauty.

Thousands of people are expected to flock to Weston from around the world to take in the show, which will run for six weeks from tomorrow (Friday).

Musical giants Massive Attack have also been confirmed to be playing at the Tropicana at some point during the show’s duration.

Demand for the 4,000 tickets per day – with viewing sessions scheduled from 11am-6pm and 7-11pm – is expected to be sky-high.

What will be at Dismaland?

Among the exhibits will be:

* A Cinderella’s Castle showing what it is like to be a ‘real princess’.

* A hand-crafted model village created by Jimmy Cauty.

* Giant pin-wheel commissioned by Banksy.

* A Punch and Julie exhibition by Julie Burchill with references to Jimmy Savile and Fifty Shades Of Grey.

* Circus tent.

* Jeffrey Archer Memorial Fire Pit.

To see the full list, log on to www.dismaland.co.uk/map

Tickets must be bought in advance via a new website – www.dismaland.co.uk – which is due to go live today (Thursday).

However, tomorrow’s opening day is reserved for an exclusive showing for locals only, running from 11am-3pm.

Just 1,000 tickets will be available for this launch, and they are being made available exclusively to Mercury readers – and they are free.

A voucher in this week’s edition of the paper can be exchanged for a ticket – in the form of a unique wristband – on a first come, first served basis from a Mercury-branded beach hut near to the Tropicana from 9am tomorrow (Friday).

There are strict conditions attached, however, to ensure that these coveted bands do not end up in the hands of touts.

The adhesive wristbands are non-transferable, and will be placed onto wrists at the point of exchange.

This will be done on a strict basis of one person, one voucher, one wristband. Under no circumstances will additional wristbands will be handed out to take away.

Crucially, people must bring ID – such as a passport or utility bill – to prove they live in North Somerset.

* Like any cutting edge contemporary artist, Banksy is something of a Marmite figure whose work is revered and reviled in near-equal measure.

So, tell us what you think of the Dismaland exhibition. We want your views and pictures to be a key part of our coverage – so get involved by emailing them to newsdesk@westonmercury.co.uk or submitting them via our website and social media pages.

Find the Weston, Worle and Somerset Mercury on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter @WSMercury or on Instagram.

* The Mercury visited the show today (Thursday) – to see a gallery of more than 50 pictures from Dismaland click this link.

To find out more about Banksy, click here.

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